“Man is so made that when anything fires his soul,

impossibilities vanish.”    — Jean De La Fontaine

Philip Humbert is one of the people I always considered a mentor. He wrote constantly about surrounding yourself with positives and the importance of self motivation.

He quoted Zig Ziglar in several of his Newsletters so today I thought I’d share three of my favourites with you …

“People complain motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does a shower. That’s why I recommend both every day.” ~ Zig Ziglar

“You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” ~ Zig Ziglar
“You don’t have to be great at something to start, but you have to start to be great at something.”           ~ Zig Ziglar

Philip encourages his readers to:-

‘Read, listen to audio programs, talk with exciting people and surround yourself with things that energise you!  He added, that we live in a bad news world. It wears everyone down! To counter this, surround yourself with things that energize, challenge and excite you.’



Words by Dr Philip E. Humbert : Copyright (c) 2014, all rights reserved. U.S. Library of Congress ISSN: 1529-059X You may copy, forward or distribute TIP’s if this copyright notice and full information for contacting Dr Philip E. Humbert are included.

Contact him at: or email



A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. ~Mahatma Gandhi

I know we all possess an inbuilt determination but some people are far more determined than others. Being passionately determined could never be a bad thing. By being determined, we learn. And if we’re determined enough we continue to learn, which then leads us to become even more determined to achieve our goals.

But where does determination sit, for instance, concerning the state of writing books ?

There are somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published every year in the US alone, depending on which stats you believe. Many of those – perhaps as many as half or even more – are self-published. It could be more since the above statistics were published.

While I ponder the state of writing books I can’t help but think about how my books are connected to my life, firstly as an avid reader and then my forty years of breeding Arabian horses. It was breeding these incredible horses that led me to writing and even now I wonder about the plight of the Arabian horse.

The word plight means, condition, state, or situation, which is often bad.

I’m not a person who focuses on the bad in life to be honest I do not watch the news on the television any longer. But during my years as a breeder my husband and I traveled around Australia and to several counties overseas where I witnessed not only the profound love of Arabian horses but also the desperate methods employed by those who profess this love. Even though I embrace the good it appears the bad  has a perverse way of making itself known.

As I draft and edit the  latest book I’m writing I realised that we actually make our own good news. Even if there’s never any uplifting news around us maybe we should look for insights from nature and observe what she’s telling us. There’s much to be said for developing the power to  analyse needs and desires around us.

I accept that change happens but the changes I’ve witnessed in both breeding horses and writing novels has not  always been desirable. Sometimes I wish I could forget the actions of many associated with both. But much of what I’ve seen and experienced remains embedded in my mind as I search for answers for the behavior.

Sadly, in the early years  I walked away when I should have  voiced my disapproval. I know now that we shouldn’t overlook something that echoes a time or idea that made a powerful, positive contribution to the Arabian breed. In saying this I do believe that alleged wise decisions and even a lack of action several decades ago has had a cause and effect situation on the breeding of Arabian horses  today. And in the last decade the face of publishing has changed dramatically. With both there are changes that reflect a change within the boundaries of what is considered acceptable.

Do you approve of the changes associated with breeding Arabian horses?

Have breeders shot themselves in the foot by accepting and implementing unacceptable behaviour?

I’m drafting my latest book, which has taken over a year to write. In the second or third chapter naturally there’s a conflict regarding an Arabian horse. No surprise there, a voice in my head tells me and I wonder if I’m becoming far too predictable.

Anyway, as I sort through one of the piles of Arabian horse material along with a diary written by my late mother I began to have that passionately determined feeling to keep at it, keep reminding people of why they became involved with the Arabian breed in the first place.

But where are all the people?

Most who know us now realise that my husband and I have retired. After forty years of breeding Arabian horses and some relatively recent health issues made us  feel it was time for us. We’re part of the baby-boomer generation. There’s so much change surrounding the Arabian breed. I say this because there’s a VERY large number of breeders from the baby boomer generation retiring from breeding. (Baby boomers are people born during the demographic post–World War II baby boom approximately between the years 1946 and 1964. This includes people who are between 52 and 70 years old in 2016. Wikipedia – it includes ourselves)

The baby boomers were  primarily a generation who bred horses to service a very large number of prospective breeders. These buyers were often purchasing their foundation stock. Some may remember how a similar thing happened when Ostriches and Alpacas were first introduced. But when any breed of animal is bred in large numbers an ongoing bonafide use must be set in place to assist the marketing of future progeny. These early breeders were true horse-people they did everything for their horses themselves.

There was no Facebook or social media in fact no internet so it was magazine advertising and show ring horses that caused a stir of excitement. The classes were packed with horses and everyone who owned Arabian horses couldn’t wait to show off the latest offspring from their foundation horses to prospective purchasers. I can remember being incredibly excited to see the new youngsters every year.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. ~Albert Einstein

The Arabian breed that was powered forward under the guardianship of the baby boomers has finally plateaued out. We now see the younger generations coming into the breed at a lower rate. It appears we’ve entered a new phase. With many of the baby boomers (like ourselves) looking to new horizons, it means the Arabian breed is facing the same sort of challenges that many other equestrian sports appear to be facing. There have always been cycles in breeding. One breeds until there is an oversupply, sell at bargain prices or the horses end up being culled and off it goes again into another cycle. The determined survive.

I have to ask a nagging question.  Why then is camp-drafting still growing? Not just growing but exploding!

Somehow enthusiasm has to be built from all directions to keep a level of excitement growing. In those early years I can remember it was like riding a tidal wave of enthusiasm between all the breeders. Maybe people don’t want to breed up these days, maybe they want instant horses, instant success? There’s always been a saying, the excitement is in the journey not in the destination. Maybe that’s now obsolete.

I can remember writing that if every Arabian breeder showed a HIGH level of enthusiasm and introduced just one new person to the Arabian breed per year, member numbers would grow dramatically and there would be higher levels of participation across the board. Success cannot be left to a handful of people to carry the responsibility. It’s the breeder’s responsibility to do the right thing by the horses they breed and the people they sell horses to.

When we were breeding we always planned at least five years ahead. We read the signs well in advance regarding the oversupply of straight Egyptian horses in Australia and acted accordingly.

I know people react differently. When it comes to the Arabian horse today it sadly appears the demands of show ring success and competition carries an enormous amount of weight when it comes to the assessment of the Arabian horse’s value.

So now another long discussed question.

Does the art of showmanship and pervasive conditioning  and training take the place of natural beauty?

Does showing actually make a difference to sales or is it only about ego?

The connection between people and horses is a touching one and every breeder I’ve ever spoken to loves the Arabian legends, the elements of mind and soul that were a spiritual gift to the first Arabian mare.  But times are different and often the reality of day to day life can change motivation, which in turn causes responsibilities to the Arabian horse to be forgotten.

We all love the beauty of the Arabian horse but as I watch, with curiosity, at this obsession with extremes continue to gain momentum I’m reminded how extremes are dangerous.  Look at the extremes Mother Nature dishes out to the world from time to time. Just like a runaway train, the father of most man made horse breeds continues to be labelled as an unmanageable, flighty creature owned mostly by people who cannot ride and are only interested in running their horses around a show ring. While many of us who own Arabians know this is not true, it’s this perceived idea that continues to do or has done the most damage.

As a determined person I refuse to think this idea cannot be turned around. The saddest thing is that this and many other topics have been bandied around with no conclusion for as long as I can remember. There have always been fads. We began breeding purebred Arabian horses in 1975 and I’m bored because most of the topics discussed now were discussed then, and they continued to be debated during all the time in between.

As for a solution, taking responsibility and some common sense could be a start but you only have to watch the news each night to understand the state of the human psyche. I wish one didn’t have to keep battering an already bruised head against a brick wall, so I shrug my shoulders turn off the television and plot my next book! Book world problems are much, much easier to solve. They are actually solvable!

Mind you, the one fact any Arabian horse owner knows is how uniquely responsive and sensitive the Arabian horse is towards his owner. In the end, life is to be lived but living life includes change and it also requires our best efforts. I only wish for a bright future concerning the Arabian breed and I firmly believe there are many passionately determined breeders and admirers that will always do their best for the breed. I also know I’ll never run out of ideas to write about, how could I when my books are plotted around the magnificent Arabian breed.  I realise it’s far easier to preach than to take action but once you’ve experienced life with horses would never settle for anything less than an Arabian.



BOUND TOGETHER words Carmel Rowley

Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.     ~Henry Ford

I can’t help but notice how people are bound together and connected by the fascination of particular events, animals, artwork and even in the individual people we  admire. Many are not extraordinary people but ordinary people who possibly understand how the power of enthusiastic thinking and personal effort taps into our potential to succeed and remain connected.

As Chief Seattle, Leader Of The Suquamish And Duwamish Native American Tribe said: “All things are bound together. All things connect. Whatever happens to the Earth happens to the children of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”

Whether you breed horses or write books and now I’ve done both, you realise life doesn’t hand out easy answers and although there are testing times we all know how important it is to accept failure for what it is. What is it they say; failure isn’t failure as long as we learn from it. I’ve learned lessons from many things that I no longer remember but I have never forgotten a failure.

When I began to write my first book Tails Carried High I was incredibly busy working on and off the farm. I knew nothing about writing books and I felt exactly as I did as a ten year old having my first serious riding lessons trying to apply all the details that accompany a good seat – all at once!


But I accomplished my goal (in time) and from that experience I knew exactly how hard I would always have to work to succeed at writing.  Somehow along the way I became as enthusiastic about writing as I was about breeding horses.

Was I tired and occasionally discouraged? Hell yes!

Did I have a lot to learn about writing books? Hell yes!

Am I there yet! Hell no!

Over the years I knew I was doing something I truly loved. Both horse breeding and my dedication to writing became a magnet to create and foster all the enthusiasm I needed to draw me closer to my goals and successes.

I never stopped learning during all the decades I bred horses and  it appears to be the same with writing.  But there are deeper explorations which fired my imagination, there’s my admiration for architecture and art and also the earthy beauty of the Australian bush. When you sit and take notice enthusiasm is like music entering your body to create and feel the energy of nature in all its often brutal beauty.

To take notice of everything  to evoke enthusiasm is impossible.

But where would we be without enthusiasm?

I love to be around enthusiastic people because enthusiasm like panic is infectious. How gratifying is it to shift your opinions and clear your vision to someone else’s ideas.


Man’s mind, stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimension. ~ Wendell Holmes


Enthusiasm is a bright beacon that spreads it’s light to all who remember the power of dedication, and discipline. Lets face it breeding horses sure takes dedication and discipline. But aren’t we all bound together by our enthusiasm and by what we love. we can’t sit around and expect others to fire your enthusiasm. It doesn’t take years of hard work to become enthusiastic it just takes practise.



“In the days following her mother’s funeral, Jessikah stayed in the house, surrounded by the things she loved. Her friend Nyla brought meals in the evening and worried at Jessikah’s need to clean the place from top to bottom.
When it was the attic’s turn to be tackled, what Jessikah found there astounded them both. An old cedar chest, covered in years of dust, had been hidden away in the corner. Jessikah paused for several seconds to find the courage to lift the lid. Inside she found it was full of her mother’s treasures. There were teddy bears and two beautiful Art Deco lamps wrapped in colourful Indian scarves, but she exclaimed with delight at a small, finely worked painting of a white horse. She hung the painting in her room and, before she fell asleep, willed this Pegasus creature to take her to realms unknown in her dreams.
Jessikah had hit the attic with good intentions but, once she found the chest, she became fascinated by its contents and the cleaning forgotten.
The biggest surprise was a faded postcard from Australia, showing a large bluestone church in a city called Toowoomba. The card was pinned to an equally faded championship ribbon, a tricolour sash with ‘Royal Melbourne Show’ printed in bold yellow along the top and ‘Champion Purebred Arabian Stallion 1968’ underneath. Jessikah had no idea how her mother aquired such a thing. When she turned the card over, she found the name ‘Simon Rhodes’ in her mother’s handwriting. Who was this Simon Rhodes, and what was his connection to her mother?
Jessikah’s new found interest in Toowoomba led her to wonder about her future. There was nothing to stop her from searching out this Simon Rhodes, and the idea of spending time ‘down-under’ fired her imagination.
Images of white sandy beaches, Uluru and unique wildlife were irresistible. Deep down, she knew getting away could be just what she needed: the trip would be a journey of discovery.
Instead of renting her family home, Jessikah decided to sell. A phone call to an estate agent had the property sold immediately and for more than she expected. With excited anticipation, she began packing, selling and storing her belongings.
Before leaving, she telephoned the Royal Melbourne Show Society in Australia to ask for the name of the owner of the Champion Purebred Arabian stallion for 1968. Jessikah nearly dropped the phone when told her grandmother had owned the horse—Emma Hagen had bred Arabian horses in Queensland. The information sent Jessikah into a tailspin. Were the stories her mother told her true? For hours, she sat and gazed at the white horse in the painting, committing the brush strokes to memory, and wondering if the woman who brought Arabian horses all the way from Egypt was in fact from her family.”





Readers’ praise for “Tails Carried High”
Revenge, intrigue and wonderful details make you feel you are actually there in the beautiful Australian countryside! All combined in a very engaging first novel. Unexpected surprises in the final pages keep you from putting this book down! A must read for any adventure/horse lover!!
Willa Frayser, equine artist, USA

And now you have written a book. I knew it would be good. A book with the setting in Australia, horse related, with a love story and family secrets. I couldn’t wait to begin to read … but I was not prepared, not in the slightest, that it would be not just a book that tells a story but that this is a book that contains a whole world between its covers and sucks you in the minute you lay eyes on the first lines and begin to read. After some hours I WAS in Australia—I felt the sun in my face, I was with Jessikah on her journey to the past. You really have the gift to take the reader by the hand and unfold a whole continent in front of his eyes. I just took a deep breath, jumped into the story and never ever wanted to get out of it again. When I realised that I was coming closer and closer to the end I read slower and slower because I wanted to prolong it as much as possible. Carmel, I love your book.
Oliver Wibihal, editor of LISA magazine, Germany

I have to write and tell you that I went ‘flying high’ through my book shortly after I received it. What a grand start to your series and I am so very happy you are writing and sharing your knowledge of the Arabian world in such exciting fiction. One of my best reads in several years! And, yes, I am passing on the word.
Kay Stone Buford, Tulsa, OK, USA

Tails Carried High is a great novel that touched me personally. It is a wonderful mystery that keeps you in suspense till the last chapter, plus being a great educational book that teaches people how to love and care for Arab horses. It touches the spirit of these noble beings. It explains the circumstances that surround the show ring and the Arab horse’s world nowadays, which make us see the threat of the modern world on them. It puts us on the right track to serve and protect these wonderful creatures.
Ali Shaarawi, Arabian horse breeder and international judge, Egypt

Congratulations on a wonderful book. Thanks for sending it so promptly. I read it in the first week and am now reading it for a second time. I so enjoyed the story but, more importantly, it jogged my memory as to why we decided to breed the Arabian horse. We’ve been a bit jaded and also a bit fed up with the Arabian horse scene over the last year or two. But your book made us stop and think about the real reason for breeding this wonderful horse (I thank you for that as well) … Thank you and please let me know when the next one will be available.
Cheryl O’Leary, Midu Arabians, Queensland, Australia

Congratulations—the book is a terrific read! I won’t be handing my signed copy on to my daughter as originally planned but will keep it in my ‘special books’ library as I will enjoy going back and re-reading it on many occasions, I am sure. It is definitely a ‘can’t put down’ read—just MY sort of book! Love the weaving of the horses, generations, Australian countryside and farms, family feuds, etc … Please put me on the ‘to be advised’ list for when you finish the next book. Sandy Smith, Birdwood Stud, Australia

I absolutely loved your book, couldn’t leave it alone. Nicely factual and romantic and I loved the descriptions of towns, trees and places. I could just imagine it all. It’s written with a deep love of the Arabian horse. I will have to go and check the necks of them all to see if they have the thumb print!
Fiona Henchman, Arabian horse breeder and dairy farmer, New Zealand

Tails Carried High and the rest of the series canbe purchased from my website

A little Inspiration for Friday

A little Inspiration for Friday
The East Creek Community Centre Toowoomba – Actions speak louder than words.
Author Carmel and East Creek Community Centre

Do your actions speak louder than words?
As I write my latest book I often become distracted by the day to day events around me. Words appear to flow around me as flood waters churn and sweep down a river without any understanding of the possible damage it will create.
Worst yet, lately I’ve wondered if words have lost meaning and value.

I thought about what effect that would have on business, friends and family? Shouldn’t we model behaviour consistent with our values? The people around me see what I do, and if it doesn’t correspond with what I say, then I’ve immediately lost their trust, their admiration, and their willingness to follow.


“People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.” ~Lewis Cass


I feel we should always consider our priorities, beliefs and values. They cannot be swept under the rug. They must be lived.

What values do you profess?
Putting clients first?
Treating friendships with respect?
What important values do you uphold as a family?
Is kindness to others important to you?
What about integrity and making an effort to do what’s right?

As I write about the live of my characters’ I also take a moment to think about their actions within the plot. Are these people I’ve created living out what they claim to hold important?
They may only be characters in a fictional story but they must be believable. After all, we’re all only human and like my characters all of us can get distracted or unfocused.
What’s important, though, is that I recognise the behaviour, and then commit to making the necessary changes to get my characters back on track. Just like us they have to learn to live priorities, beliefs and values. Personal integrity is only possible when we are fully aligned to our values.

It was via my writing but more so my frustration to find help to learn about my website that eventually led me to the East Creek Community Centre in Toowoomba.


This centre offers support to all who need it and clearly their actions do the talking, because action is what people notice anyway.

East Creek Community Centre is a catalyst for community development. The dedicated paid and volunteer staff provide support, advice, advocacy and professional development. They work with community groups and individuals throughout Toowoomba.

I was surprised to learn that there are programs are for everyone – children, adolescents, young adults, seniors, people with disabilities, multicultural groups and those who are socially isolated. They encourage all members of the community to participate.

You can become a volunteer, learn a new skill, attend an information session, plant a garden, develop your writing skills or learn to use a computer. For over twenty years, the Centre has delivered innovative programs that meet the community’s changing needs.

Members of East Creek Community Centre are welcome to attend committee meetings held on the 3rd Thursday of every month, starting at 5.30pm. Please call or email the centre for more details. Phone 07 4639 2755 or 07 4639 2038 if the other number is busy.

Sally offers an invitation to come and join us, there’s lots to do! Visit our website to read the current Newsletter online and read all about the upcoming events. I’m incredibly grateful for all of the patient and helpful advice from Andras as I continue to learn more about websites than I ever thought possible.

East Creek Community Centre, 43 Kitchener Street, PO Box 4859, East Toowoomba, Qld 4350 – Monday to Friday 9am – 4pm
Phone (07) 4639 2755 – Fax (07) 4639 2038 – Email:
Words adapted with permission.



Carmel Rowley

In a race between reading and horses I admit reading probably passes the finishing post by a nostril! But when I find a book about horses I’m in heaven. Nearly as much excitement as writing one.
Apparently reading puts our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation. Do you know that wonderful feeling of relaxation and calmness that you get from a reading? I know I do.
I also know I sleep far better when I read in bed and if I’m stressed the first thing I do is seek out a favourite book.

“From Montecollum”

The author Jeanette Winterson wrote:

“Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines. What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination.”


Happy Reading and enjoy your week.

Buy Carmel Rowley’s books online:

A dream role – write your story

A dream role – write your story

Why not write your life story?

I’ve met a huge number of people over the years. Everywhere I go I love to engage with people and talk about their lives. It’s fabulous how horse people have so many anecdotes to share. But it’s not only horse people. For instance lately I met several people at a recent event and one in particular  relaid  several entertaining stories about his younger days and Volkswagens.

At the Toowoomba races we’ve met dozens of people from all walks of life who come together in the ownership of a racehorse. Now they have some super stories to share. It appears that no matter where I go I hear the most exhilarating, touching, shocking and funny stories about people’s lives.

I’m not only talking about older people. Young people have equally entertaining and often eyebrow-raising stories to share.

So have you ever thought about writing you own family story? Or even writing down all the favourite stories you love to share when you meet new people.

Let’s look at a few reasons why you should write your story.

Old or young there’s likely to be something in your life that the general public would enjoy reading. If you’re older and you’ve lived a longish life with twists and turns, achievements and experiences why not write a your own memoir? It could be about a person who’s lived a surprising life?

When you think about it we all have some extremely interesting stories, for instance, maybe you only mouthed the words during the entire time you sang in a church choir! Well, why not, it could happen. And the choirmaster always knew but never said a word!

Life constantly surprises us all. Life’s experiences are not only interesting – they can be life-changing or hilariously funny.

Writing about your life can be a special keepsake for your family, something they could cherish forever. How often have you learned something about your grandparents and say, ‘ wow, I didn’t know that!’

Often families can unexpectedly learn about some incredible achievements or the even the strength and tolerance of distant family members.

These days we’re encouraged to search out and understand about our heritage even the secrets that were never  discussed. Now secrets make great reading with a life lesson combined. There was something I wrote  in Tails Carried High – ‘three can only keep a secret if two of them are dead.’ Think about it.

Writing your life story can also give you a new perspective on life. Apparently, it’s great for your well-being and is a healthy cathartic exercise. I read that scientific research has stated that if you explore your feelings and write them down – it can actually build your immune system.

Plus writing down experiences can possibly help understand why people did and do certain things giving an overall insight into life as a whole.

If you decide to start writing don’t forget to always add light and shade. I know not everyone’s stories are full of laughter but the bright spots need to be included. I know I often repeat my favourite stories over and over to my poor friends and family but they make us laugh or they can incite great conversation.
I know when I look back on certain events in my life it helps me to let go of certain wrongs and embrace the each precious moment even more.

Why not give it a go? Who knows what could happen and how many lives you could touch and inspire.

I’d love to hear how you go.


International Day of Happiness

Such wise words to think about on this special day. Happy International Day of Happiness to you all.

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” 
Dale CarnegieHow to Win Friends and Influence People

The International Day of Happiness is celebrated worldwide every March 20, and was conceptualized and founded by philanthropist, activist, statesman, and prominent United Nations special advisor Jayme Illien to inspire, mobilize, and advance the global happiness movement.

In 2011, Illien brought the idea and concept of creating a new global day of awareness, the International Day of Happiness, to senior United Nations Officials.

Illien successfully campaigned to unite a global coalition of all 193 United Nations member states, and secured the endorsement of then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki moon, to support the concept of establishing a new official international UN calendar day of observance known as the International Day of Happiness.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


IDOH 5B92E5 TransBG.png

Promise Yourself

~Christian D. Larson, Your Forces and How to Use Them

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

 “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” 
~Dalai Lama XIV

Thursday Art-Day – Sir Edwin Henry Landseer.

Thursday Art-Day –  Sir Edwin Henry Landseer RA (7 March 1802 – 1 October 1873)
Words: Carmel Rowley &

Arab Stallion

I blogged about Sir Edwin Henry Landseer and his incredible paintings way back in 2011. During this week I posted Landseer’s The Arab Tent with a previous blog so I thought it was the perfect time to revisit Landseer’s fascinating life again. Most Arabian horse breeders know of or possibly have a framed print of The Arab Tent on their wall. But do you know about this extraordinary artist? So once again for Thursday Art-Day we take a look at the art and the life of Sir Edwin Henry Landseer.

The Arab Tent

Landseer was something of a prodigy whose artistic talents were recognised early on; he studied under several artists, including his father John Landseer, an engraver, and Benjamin Robert Haydon, the well-known and controversial history painter who encouraged the young Landseer to perform dissections in order to fully understand animal musculature and skeletal structure.

Landseer’s life was entwined with the Royal Academy. At the age of just 13, in 1815, he exhibited works there. He was elected an Associate at the age of 24, and an Academician five years later in 1831. He was knighted in 1850, and although elected President in 1866 he declined the invitation. A notable figure in 19th century British art, his works can be found in Tate Britain, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Kenwood House and the Wallace Collection in London. He also collaborated with fellow painter Frederick Richard Lee. Landseer’s popularity in Victorian Britain was considerable. He was widely regarded as one of the foremost animal painters of his time, and reproductions of his works were commonly found in middle-class homes. Yet his appeal crossed class boundaries, for Landseer was quite popular with the British aristocracy as well, including Queen Victoria, who commissioned numerous portraits of her family (and pets) from the artist.

An Old Cover Hack

Landseer was particularly associated with Scotland and the Scottish Highlands, which provided the subjects (both human and animal) for many of his important paintings, including his early successes The Hunting of Chevy Chase (1825–1826) and An Illicit Whiskey Still in the Highlands (1826–1829), and his more mature achievements such as the majestic stag study Monarch of the Glen (1851) and Rent Day in the Wilderness (1855–1868). Laying Down The Law (1840) satirises the legal profession through anthropomorphism.

 Head of Deerhound

(c) Leeds Museums and Galleries (book); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

So popular and influential were Landseer’s paintings of dogs in the service of humanity that the name Landseer came to be the official name for the variety of Newfoundland dog that, rather than being black or mostly black, features a mix of both black and white; it was this variety Landseer popularised in his paintings celebrating Newfoundlands as water rescue dogs, most notably Off to the Rescue (1827), A Distinguished Member of the Humane Society (1838), and Saved (1856), which combines Victorian constructions of childhood with the appealing idea of noble animals devoted to humankind—a devotion indicated, in Saved, by the fact the dog has rescued the child without any apparent human direction or intervention.

Monarch of the Glen (1851)

In his late 30’s Landseer suffered what is now believed to be a substantial nervous breakdown, and for the rest of his life was troubled by recurring bouts of melancholy, hypochondria, and depression, often aggravated by alcohol and drug use. In the last few years of his life Landseer’s mental stability was problematic, and at the request of his family he was declared insane in July 1872. Landseer’s death on 1 October 1873 was widely marked in England: shops and houses lowered their blinds, flags flew at half-staff, his bronze lions at the base of Nelson’s column were hung with wreaths, and large crowds lined the streets to watch his funeral cortege pass. Landseer was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

White Collie in a landscape.

Landseer was rumoured to be able to paint with both hands at the same time, for example, paint a horse’s head with the right and its tail with the left, simultaneously. He was also known to be able to paint extremely quickly—when the mood struck him. He could also procrastinate, sometimes for years, over certain commissions.
His painting The Shrew Tamed, entered at the 1861 Royal Academy Exhibition, caused controversy because of its subject matter. It showed a powerful horse lying in the straw in a stable while a lovely young woman lies with her head pillowed on its shoulder, lightly touching its head with her hand.

Shrew Tamed

The catalogue explained it as a portrait of a noted equestrienne, Ann Gilbert, applying the taming techniques of the famous ‘horse whisperer’ John Solomon Rarey. Critics however were troubled by the depiction of a languorous woman dominating a powerful animal, and some concluded Landseer was referencing the famous courtesan Catherine Walters, then at the height of her fame. Walters was herself an excellent horsewoman and along with other ‘pretty horsebreakers’ frequently appeared riding in Hyde Park.

The English architect Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens was named after him—Lutyens’ father was a friend of Landseer. The only contemporary animalier to approach his fame was fellow Royal Academician Richard Ansdell. After his death, Landseer left behind three unfinished paintings: Finding the Otter, Nell Gwynne and The Dead Buck, all on easels in his studio. It was his dying wish that his friend John Everett Millais should complete the paintings and so Millais did.

For more

Perpetuate the Poetic

Perpetuate the Poetic – Carmel Rowley

Landseer – The Arab Tent

Horses are a magnet to those who love them. I know I’m drawn to them, my hand has a life of it’s own and reaches to stroke any horses fine soft neck. My hand tingles and I transported back in time.

Once, probably not that long ago, mankind relied on the horse to simply exist. Over the years I’ve learnt that if you give horses love, respect, and kindness, the horse will return those emotions tenfold. The horse whisperer Buck Brannaman, said a horse is a mirror to your soul. 

Many different facets of horse ownership set me on the path to write but the emotional involvement always fascinated me.  In my current novel I incorporate not only the long standing bond of friendship between women but also the horses ability to assist in healing an individual’s soul and mind.

So when I think about horses the spiritual is there so how could I not search out some of the marvellous poetry and the thought provoking words written about horses. I decided I must in my own little way ensure more and more people read some of these words. So today I’m blogging the poignant words written by W.G.Palgrave, in his book Central and Eastern Arabia. The words describe a unique breed of horse and when I think about it I used the beautiful words as a yardstick for our own breeding program.

Many will already know them but some may not have even read them. They take you back to the 1860’s when Palgrave gives a description of the horses owned by Prince Faisal ibn-Saud. Think about it for a moment, these horses were the type of Arabian that Abbas Pasha was able to source for his own breeding establishments. When you read the description you will probably feel like I do and wish you owned a time machine …

Carle Vernet Oriental Et Son Cheval Une Armée À Larrière

…Never had I seen or imagined so lovely a collection. Their stature was indeed somewhat low; I do not think that any came fully up to fifteen hands; fourteen appeared to me about their average; but they were so exquisitely well shaped that want of greater size seemed hardly, if at all, a defect. Remarkably full in the haunches, with a shoulder of a slope so elegant as to make one in the words of an Arab poet, ‘go raving mad about it;’ a little, a very little saddle-backed, just the curve that indicates the springiness without any weakness; a head broad above, and tapering down to a nose fine enough to verify the phrase of ‘drinking from a pint pot’, did pint pots exist in Nejed; a most intelligent and yet singularly gently look, full eye, sharp thorn like little ear, legs fore and hind that seemed to be made of hammered iron, so clean and yet so well twisted with sinew; a neat round hoof, just the requisite for hard ground; the tail set on or rather thrown out at a perfect arch; coats smooth, shining and light; the mane long but not over grown nor heavy; and an air and step that seemed to say ‘Look at me, am I not pretty?’
Their appearance justified all reputation, all value, all poetry. The prevailing colour was chestnut or grey; a light bay, an iron colour, white, or black, were less common.
But if asked what are, after all, the specially distinctive points of the Nejdee horse, I should reply, the slope of the shoulder, the extreme cleanness of the shank, the full rounded haunch, though every other part too has a perfection and a harmony unwitnessed (at least by my eyes) anywhere else.”

W.G.Palgrave, ‘Central and Eastern Arabia’ (London 1865) Vol.2 pages 92-94

 The horse, with beauty unsurpassed, strength immeasurable and grace unlike any other, still remains humble enough to carry a man upon his back. ~ Amber Senti.

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During my blissful Sunday at the Toowoomba Lifeline Bookfest, I stood back for a few minutes and took in the seemingly endless tables holding close to a million books. You have to smile at the hundreds of people intent on finding personal treasures as they methodically sort through the boxes. Bookfest is one of my must go events every year and record sales in 2018 proves lots and lots and lots of people still adore printed books.

I was relieved to notice there were less crowds on Sunday than the manic Saturday so with a strong sense of camaraderie I joined the throng searching for a special volume. A couple of hours later, I sat  enjoying a cup of coffee and debating with a fellow book lover how many of the thousands of books stacked along the tables had actually been rejected before being published.

I couldn’t help but wonder about rejection the word that sends chills up an author’s spine. But is rejection good for us?

Rejection is a fact of life for writers, artists, in fact for anyone who pursues an artistic existence. Most of us know the gut wrenching tug to our heart when rejected. But speaking for myself over the last decade I’ve consciously made a big effort to never allow the fear of rejection prevent me from taking a risk. One of those risks would have to be my choice to independently publish my novels.

I made this decision for a variety of personal reasons but being an individual who’s always followed the untrodden path,  whether it was breeding Arabian horses or publishing my books I felt no concern in throwing caution to the wind.

I realised early during the years of breeding horses that  you cannot please everyone so firstly you must please yourself.

These days just over eight years after the release of Tails Carried High, I’m now very grateful for that original choice. Changes in one’s life and health happen and these days I know I would never have been able to work to any form of deadline. At the time the constraints of a job and breeding horses proved quite hard to drop everything and travel without careful prior planning.

It’s a strange sensation to look back at those first goals and  observe with a sense of amazement that my life unfolded as needed.

Although many may not, I now strongly believe that rejection makes you stronger. With over 40 years of breeding Arabian horses behind me, rejection is part of the course, you get used to hearing the bad things about a horse before the good. I don’t mean this in a negative manner, it’s just the way competitive fellow breeders behave. So in saying this, it means I should be thankful to my fellow breeders for teaching me to take rejection in the right way. If you learn to do this, you can actually come away with a new perspective and understanding of the big picture.

If rejection is the curse, confidence is most definitely the cure and these famous authors had some astounding rejection letters.

Emily Dickinson: Your poems are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities.

Ernest Hemingway (regarding The Torrents of Spring): It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it.

Can you believe these phrases from famous author rejection letters? It’s amazing the authors actually persevered. These comments show us that famous author rejection letters are no different than             not-so-famous author rejection letters! Can you imagine if these authors had stopped writing and submitting. They took a second, third, fourth and upwards chance to get published. If they’d given up    we would’ve missed such important literature!

I came across some more very interesting statistics. (please remember regardless of how hard one searches there still may a chance for error.)

Famous Author Rejections: 

1. John Grisham’s first novel was apparently rejected 25 times.

2. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) allegedly received 134 rejections.

3. Beatrix Potter had so much trouble publishing The Tale of Peter Rabbit, initially she self-published it.

4. Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) received 121 rejections before being published and went on to become a best seller.

5. Gertrude Stein spent 22 years submitting before getting a single poem accepted.

6. Judy Blume, beloved by children everywhere, received rejections for two straight years.

7. Madeline L’Engle received 26 rejections before getting A Wrinkle in Time published. It went on to win the Newberry Medal and become one of the best-selling children’s books of all time.

8. Frank Herbert’s Dune was rejected 20 times before being published and and we all know what a cult classic it became.

9. Stephen King received dozens of rejections for Carrie before it was published. Then it was made into a movie!

Why not look at rejection as an opportunity to come face to face with our ego and recognise we may need to look more closely at what we’re creating. After all, most of us learn from life experience.

There’s no doubt if rejection is associated with anything we put our heart and soul into is painful. But again it’s mainly our ego that’s bruised? If we can turn rejection inside out and consider it important and a positive life experience we can overcome the disappointment easier and easier every time it happens. There’s always a second chance or a new direction to prove ourselves and make the push towards a better, stronger and more powerful us.

Note: The Toowoomba Lifeline bookfest has been going for 20+ years. It’s on in March every year, in the Founder’s Pavilion at the Toowoomba Showgrounds.  Make sure to remember for next year – it’s not always widely advertised.  Give it a Google in February each year to get the exact dates.